An investigation by Maryland health officials into the state's 16 surgical abortion facilities found that 12 were deficient in some respect, according to results released Friday. However, the investigators also found that none of the issues posed a threat to the health and safety of patients.
Among the issues found at the 12 clinics were lapses in providing information about the professional credentials of physicians, maintaining a sanitary environment, and providing a discharge diagnosis into the medical record.
Earlier this month, officials suspended clinic licenses for Associates in OB/GYN Care, a provider which operated clinics in Silver Spring, Cheverly, Frederick, and Baltimore. An investigation found that an unlicensed technician at the Baltimore clinic had given a pregnant woman the abortion-inducing medication misoprostol without a doctor present and before any doctor or licensed professional had contact with her.
The investigation that released its findings Friday stemmed from the February death of a woman following a late-term abortion performed by Dr. LeRoy Carhart at a Germantown clinic. Investigators said they identified "no deficiencies with respect to this complaint." However, they did find that the clinic's nurses were not trained properly to give sedation medication, the medical director was not properly credentialed, and that one nurse's license had expired last year.
Inspectors also found that the Germantown clinic didn't have an emergency policy if patients had to be hospitalized. Staff also failed to pre-clean surgical instruments before sterilization and were filling syringes from vials of medicine meant for one-time use.
Maryland has required all surgical abortion facilities to be licensed since last year. The state health secretary, Joshua Sharfstein, told The Washington Post "We will suspend licenses when we feel like they pose a risk to patients."